Tuesday, July 8, 2008

2008 Toronto Banga Sammelan - A weekend well-spent

A day has gone by and we are still suffering from the pleasant hangover. The very colorful closing ceremony, choreographed brilliantly by Kalyan Sen Barat and Calcutta Choir and local Toronto troupe, brought the curtains down to a very enjoyable weekend getaway in Toronto. Bengali arts, adda and cuisine competed with the usual festivities that surround the adjacent CN Tower (where, by the way, we spent our hangover day), except that when it came to having a time limit to enjoyment, the Banga Sammelan organizers indulged us into the wee hours of morning every day. If Aneek Dhar finished into the early hours of Saturday, Ustad Ali Ahmad's Shehnai took us into Sunday and Kumar Sanu finished just before Sunday midnight - that too only because the convention center was booked only till then.

We had great fun before the event when we brought to you the Countdown to Banga Sammelan podcast and the enjoyment doubled when we were able to meet many of our listeners in person. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on Banga Sammelan with us. Silicon Valley beckons us for the 2009 Sammelan - we will have a wrap-up episode available in a few weeks about Toronto and San Francisco Banga Sammelan. But in the meanwhile lets keep the discussion ongoing.

How was this year's Banga Sammelan for you? What were your favorite moments? Do you have a message for the organizers? We would love to have your comments to this post.

Piya and Deb


  1. Hi Piya and Deb:

    You did a great job with providing info on the Banga Sammelan. It helped us chalk out our schedule of shows. Piya nice to see you in person at the convention. We enjoyed the convention. We loved the performances by: "Subhamita, Rupankar, Nachiketa and ofcourse Aneek". Alibaba was very nicely done and We even managed to get food with our very own "food coupon", the very important "food coupon" as mentioned by Mir (he was very funny).

    On a different note,we did not get to see Kumar Sanu because a lot of out of towners had to leave. We feel that a singer like him should have a better time/day slot (friday or sat). We heard that he sang for 3 hours on Sunday to a packed audience. Also Aneek was only allowed to sing for an hour, we would have loved to have heard more of his song. We saw him hanging around on Saturday, we were hoping that he would sing for us again.

    Overall, it was a great experience. Kudos to the organizers. Are you providing any wrap up to this podcast ? This was a novel idea and kudos to both of you for doing a great job.

    Mitra Choudhury - New Jersey.

  2. We are very much fond of your web site. My husband and myself are great admirers of your site. We regularly watch your site.
    Since we tried to get the detail programme of recently concluded 'Banga Sammelan' in Toronto but could not get the same, I would like to know when are u going to provide the detailed programme on your site?

    Dipashri - Kolkata

  3. Excellent
    Best wishes to the organisers, documentation group as well.

    Tilak- Kolkata

  4. Loved your podcast very much. I listen to it every year. I’ve heard every single one of them. Enjoy your production. I really liked the interviews I mean both over-seas artists and performances here. It very much helped in planning, we came to know who is singing what and who is planning what, how long they are going to sing and how much they are interested to sing in front of the audience.
    Dipankar Palit - Toronto

  5. Parimal BhattacharyaJuly 10, 2008 at 7:06 PM

    We started this Banga Sammelan with a hope to promote North American Artists. But in the last 28 years there has been a great shift. Our main artists are all overseas artists. We have a lot of talents in North America; we should promote North American talents in Banga Sammelan.
    Parimal Bhattacharya - Louisville

  6. It was an amazing experience. Toronto City itself is very mesmerizing, so we toured it a bit as well. The Convention Center was the ideal place to host such an event, since there are two stories which made the crowd less focused on one single area. The selection of artists was amazing as well. Indrani Sen was a great choice, due to her versatality in song choice. Shubhomita and Rupankar were great as always, and Chandrabali Rudra Dutta was a delight to hear. Aneek performed well as usual, although he might have been a bit more popular if he had done some of the old and golden Bengali Songs instead of mostly hindi songs, but no doubt he has a very nice voice and personality! Kumar Sanu was obviously the main star of Sunday, with everyone saving seats to see his program... but I was amazed by Arnab Chakraborty. I already knew he had a great voice, but his selection of songs and wonderful personality added to the effect! It was an amazing performance. I wish I could have heard Ferdous Ara sing on Sunday morning, but unfortunately, it was too early for us. I though that Anup Barua has a great talent for Nazrulgeeti and Bhatiali songs, and Sohini Roy Choudhury definitely does keep the banner for thumris flying!

    There were many talented "un-singing" artists who came as well and left the audience speechless. Ustad Ali Ahmad's shenai was such a spiritual experience - I cannot remember having such a spiritual experience before! Samar Saha's tabla was, as always, the art of only those god-gifted. Indrani Halder's MC-ing was very energetic, since she is an actress, and sure does know how to get the crowd going! The Ali-Baba play purely looked like a movie - seriously! I felt as if I was in a movie hall watching a live movie! And the closing ceremony brought back those old memories (although I was not exactly born at the time...) and the nostalgic feelings of Bangladesh and India.

    Last but not least, I want to thank Piyali Mashi and Deb Uncle for such a wonderful maintenance of the Bangashammelan podcast website. It was a great experience!

    ~Sanchari Ghosh - Gaithersburg, Maryland

  7. We had a wonderful time overall listening to the music of the big wigs from Kolkata and Mumbai. However, on Friday we saw evidence of massive mis-management both with the timing of the programs which were all late and the food stalls where they ran out of food and people who had tickets had to be sent back to hot dog stands.

  8. The interviews of artists in NABC podcast was very interesting and informative, I congratulate Deb and Piya in their creative effort and lookforward to their programs in future.

    Nitis Sarkar-University Heights,Cleveland.

  9. My experience at the NABC was good. The back stage helpers, sound system guys and the organizers were very cooperative and respectful. From the response of the crowd it appeared that our program went very well. I sang a madhya laya Jhaptal composition in Raga Shivranjani and a bhajan in Tintal in Raga Hansadhwani. The first one was composed by Guru Gyan Prakash Ghosh and the bhajan by Pandit Ajoy Chakraborty. My daughter Luna and Ashok Dutta provided excellent accompaniments.
    Gauri Guha - Toronto

  10. We have enjoyed very much at our Toronto Banga Sammelan. Opening and Closing ceremony, Alibaba and Valmiki Pratibha was breath taking. Thanks to the creative director, such as Kalyan Sen Barat, Sukalyan Bhattacharyya and Sasha Ghosal also our talented artists from Kolkata and local. We are very proud of our girls and boys of Toronto.
    We also enjoyed Business, Health, Literature Forms and Meghnad Bhattacharya and Manoj Mitra’s Natoks.

    Selection of over-seas artists was amazing. Kumar Sanus performance was very good and he had nicely inter-acted with ordinance also his wonderful personality added to the effect. Indrani Sen was great due to her Sweet voice and versatility in song choice. Aneek, Shubhomita, Rupankar, Arnab, Ferdous and Bhoomi performed excellent.

    Ustad Ali Ahmad’s shenai and Samar Saha’s tablas sounds felt like I was in a haven for that moment. Such a nice experience,I can’t forget that. The art of only those are God-gifted.

    You both are very pleasant. Wish you good luck with your podcast radio.

    Nandita Sen - Toronto

  11. The whole conference was fantastic. According to the feedback form many many US delegates (most come from there, any way, a little less this time perhaps due to the fallen dollar)- Toronto came out shining at par with the reputation earned on the previous two conferences hosted by PBCA. All performers from US, Canada, India and Bangaldesh have given their best. Besides the variety of stsge performances, the workshops on cinema/ documentaries,contemporary social & youth related issues and business seminars or presentations by writers Chitra & Amit & 3 Indian economists drew people in different directions- frantically trying to manage their time whilst hoping to find old friends & grab a bite in between. Too much choice, too many competitive events in so little time. At the end of the weekend, however, every one appeared to have fun & got good bang for the money. 3 cheers for the hundreds of volunteeers who worked so hard for so long to make this NABC 2008 a grand success. Basu Bose, Concord, Ontario

  12. "It's a nice get together for bengali's to meet different artists and show them what you could do" say 10 year old Aishani Biswas the winner of he talent show and the opening little 'danu' they call her. We were very excited to bump into her family and the choreographer Sukalyan Bhattacharjee and plan a interveiw for her. (Sukalyan Bhattacharjee has been proud to be teaching Aishani for 7 years (since she was 3). He says most of the excitment of teaching her is from them having identical dance life stories: - both started dancing age 3 - both first performance age 5 - both reconized age 10 etc.) If your a fan to watch ZTV / ATN at every other excact hour from 12:00p.m. to 12:00 a.m.

  13. Anuttama and BijonAugust 6, 2008 at 6:51 PM

    Dear Tapan Sen,
    We are from New Jersey and finally we reached back home and had a gala time during the NABC festival. It really reminds us our old days of Durgapuja, new saari and Goyna.
    For past two years, due to our family problems, we could not visit past two Banga Sammelans, but this time we made it a point to see that we should be visiting Toronto, my city of first love after i left India.
    The programs of the stars like Indrani di, Nachiketa, Shanu, Aneek( a special entry) Arnab, Bhumi, Rupankar, Shuvamita and Kalyan sen have met our expectation as usual. But the new faces have really charmed us more.
    The local talents from NY, Boston, Al ,MD, Toronto are excellent and we need more of such talents,who really have given their best , even being at the other side of the so called cultural hub of Bengal . But new entries from Kolkata also mesmerised us like Sudeshna, Panchali, Sohini, Bulbul, Jhinuk, Rakhi , Soumitra and we tell you that it was also a good choice.
    The drama was a bit upsetting( may be i am wrong) , but the classical and the musicals were superb.
    I wish the next NABC will also fulfill our expectations.
    Anuttama and Bijon - New Jersey

    Dear Sir/Madam
    2008 North American Bengali Conference in Toronto was really good.
    All overseas artist's prgramme, opening and closing ceremonies was excellent. Specially was held in prestigious Metro Convention Centre. Near future we expect this kind of programme.
    Thank you.
    Krishna Das
    Krishna Das

  15. Pramita ChatterjeeAugust 6, 2008 at 6:56 PM

    This year the bongo at Toronto was really great , Superb !
    You all did a very good job .
    I enjoyed many many shows from friday till the end .
    It was so big -- what I watched was only 25 or 30 % .
    But still it is great , and we had a great time .
    Thanks to all of you
    Pramita Chatterjee

  16. I would like to thank all the volunteers and the management of PBCA doing
    such a great job!
    Our family have enjoyed the program and facilities at the Convention
    Thank you all.

    From the Mukherjees

  17. Shyamal BhattacharjeeAugust 6, 2008 at 7:02 PM

    Organiser of the NABC 2008
    On behalf me and my family I would like to extends sincere thanks to all members of the NABC 2008 committee for successfully arranging a fantastic BANGA SAMMELON in Toronto. I have never seen such a big arrangement here in toronto of bengali speaking people.

    Shyamal Bhattacharjee - Toronto

  18. Attendee audio comment shunlam, khub bhalo laglo. Tobe ei bongo sommelan jodi amader bangaliana dhore rakhar cheshta hoi, tahole bodhhoi comment gulio inrijir theke banglai shunte hoito beshi bhalo lagbe. Ouddhotar (jodi keo tai mone koren) jonno khoma chailam.

  19. wonder if u could help me contact indrani... nee bhattacharya her brother was in the mountees .she is my cousin married to a canadian .i am joba goswami nee choudhury

  20. Id like to find my cousin indrani in canada .she is bengali nee bhattacharjee meso was in ontario her brother was in the mountees

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